French and Malian troops have surrounded Timbuktu and are aiming to secure the city after seizing the airport. A senior military officer reported they met no resistance.
There are reports of rebels setting fire to homes and thousands of priceless manuscripts and also handing out beatings to residents as they fled the city.
The operation comes a day after celebrations in Gao as Islamist militants were driven out of the town.
The ancient city of Timbuktu has been one of the bastions of the al Qaeda-allied fighters who have controlled the north for 10 months.
Two displaced residents gave their reaction. “I’m really glad to hear about Timbuktu because we haven’t had news for four days, networks are cut. We really worry for parents who are there. I welcome this very good news,” said one.
Another added: “Frankly, if they secure the city today, I am ready to return immediately to Timbuktu. French troops must not leave us alone then because those Islamists who fled may come back and cause problems for us. French troops have to stay a bit to stabilise the place.”
The African Union is meeting to discuss sending more troops while the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius reacted with claims that, “little by little Mali is being liberated”.
Military experts though fear the rebels could carry on a hit-and-run style guerrilla campaign.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1US says ISIL makes $1 million-a-day selling oil – even to enemies
- 2Israel: Hamas praises Jerusalem attack which killed baby girl
- 3Doctor in New York tests positive for Ebola infection
- 4Video footage of Canadian parliament gunman shows final movements
- 5Ukraine PM warns Russia may try to disrupt election
- 1Israel: Hamas praises Jerusalem attack which killed baby girl
- 2Ottawa fatal shooting: Police admit they were ‘caught by surprise’
- 3Revealed: Europe’s capital cities where it’s hardest to be a foreigner
- 4Police search for possible suspects following attack on Canada’s parliament
- 5Intruder sparks lockdown at the White House
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Now is ‘right time’ for Catalonia independence vote, says Mas | euronews, world news
- 3Vatican rocked by another paedophilia scandal | euronews, world news
- 4Two container ships collide on Egypt’s Suez Canal | euronews, no comment
- 5British Muslims’ message to ISIL: Not in my name! | euronews, world news
- 6Revealed: Europe’s capital cities where it’s hardest to be a foreigner | euronews, world news
- 7Sweden becomes first European nation to recognise Palestine | euronews, world news
- 8How nasheeds became the soundtrack of jihad | euronews, world news
- 9International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 10European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 11Iceland volcano ‘pollutes Paris’ | euronews, world news
- 12Ebola: Six new suspected cases in Spain | euronews, world news
- 13Emma Watson threatened with naked photos leak after UN equality speech | euronews, world news
- 14Learning through “serious games” | euronews, learning world
- 15All you need to know about the Ebola virus | euronews, world news
- 16US delivers technical aid to Ukraine but warns over security | euronews, world news
- 17euronews apps : iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Nokia S40, Nokia Asha, Smart TV and Google Glass
- 18Global warming to ‘cause 250,000 extra deaths a year’ | euronews, world news
- 19Mike Tyson: ‘You learn humbleness when you get older in life’ | euronews, the global conversation
- 20International news | euronews, latest international news
Wires > News
- 14:39 CET Russia’s Putin says Cold War ‘victors’ want to reshape world
- 14:29 CET Merkel urges Putin to back swift solution to Ukraine gas row
- 14:26 CET Canadian consulate in Istanbul gets package containing yellow…
- 14:25 CET Three major nations absent as China launches World Bank rival in…
- 14:19 CET South Africa police fire rubber bullets at Diamondcorp strikers
- 14:06 CET Masked men burn two Saudi Arabia consulate cars in Egypt: sources
- 13:56 CET Restore EU borders, France’s Le Pen says amid Calais tensions
- 13:46 CET Protesters in Hong Kong to vote on government proposals